Since 1993, the UNM Children’s Campus has been nationally accredited by NAEYC and recognized as a high-quality education and care program—a national distinction achieved by less than 10 percent of all early childhood centers, preschools, and kindergartens. 

The UNM Children’s Campus (UNMCC) was recently reaccredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

“Over the past thirty years, we have prided ourselves on continuing to maintain the distinguished mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our efforts and commitment to ensuring the highest professional standards,” said Daniela Baca, UNMCC director. 

Every five years, UNM is required to go through the rigorous reaccreditation process to demonstrate evidence that they successfully meet 10 research-based standards for young children’s development and learning. UNMCC just recently went through the process of completing a self-study, verification of the program’s successful meeting of numerous criteria, and a site visit from a NAEYC assessor—resulting in outstanding scores and reaccreditation through 2029.

“NAEYC-Accredited programs have committed to a process that takes time, energy, and dedication to complete,” said Alissa Mwenelupembe, senior director of Early Learning Program Accreditation. “The UNM Children’s Campus has demonstrated their commitment to young children and their families.”

The mission of the UNMCC is to support student recruitment, retention, and graduation rates by providing the UNM community with a high-quality early childhood program that supports the educational goals and experiences of student families.

“The UNM Children’s Campus is committed to providing educational experiences and developmentally appropriate, affordable, high-quality care for young children in a safe, nurturing, and enriching environment that supports the critical interrelationships of social, emotional, intellectual, and physical growth while enhancing the quality of life for children, families, and students associated with the University of New Mexico, thus preparing even our littlest Lobos for Lifelong Success,” Baca said.

UNMCC Received Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) Funding Increase

In addition to the accreditation, UNMCC was awarded increased funding from the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) to provide Extended Plus Early PreK and PreK services. The four-year, approximately $5.7 million grant was recently increased by nearly $2.5 million above what was initially awarded. The grant funding increases the number of instructional hours for children to 1,380 during the program year, is available to licensed community providers, tribal programs, and school-based PreK settings, and is intended to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education throughout New Mexico. 

“This additional funding opportunity is great news for Early Childhood Programs, and we are excited that we are able to offer these programs to eligible families,” Baca said.

To meet the new hourly requirements under the grant, the upcoming Early PreK and PreK year will run from August 14, 2023 to May 31, 2024, with hours adjusted to 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday for both programs.

“The UNM Children’s Campus is an incredible asset for the campus and provides a high quality developmental and educational environment allowing parents to pursue their studies, engage on campus, and be gainfully employed,” said Eric Scott, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Their reaccreditation and expanded grant funding is a reflection of the quality and intentionality of their work and their dedication to a sustained alignment with the tenants and values of early childhood education.”

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) oversees the New Mexico Prekindergarten (PreK) program, a high-quality program available to all families with eligible 3- and 4-year-old children, regardless of income. The NM PreK program is a key part of the state’s early childhood education and care system, providing high-quality voluntary PreK experiences to preschool-aged children. The NM PreK grant is a competitive, multi-year grant for community and school-based programs to offer the NM PreK curriculum according to the established standards.